Rate the Last Movie You Watched: Split 3

Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 4252
Passengers - 5/10

It ambles along amply enough, though when Sleeping Beauty (heh, allegory) meets cute with Jim (no allegory?), the film merely repeats with a slightly supported romantic angle. Everything unfolds exactly as one would predict, and the ending is deliciously ridiculous. Just... what.

SPOILER: Nope, you don't even get to see their rotting corpses at the end, which is a gyp all its own.

Miles Ahead - 8/10

A genial biopic elevated by skillful timesharing between the man and the genius. This is a film that realizes its lack of time to explore the breadth of such a mind, therefore bookending in "social music", drug-induced style between Davis's career high (1950s) and low (1980), one informing the other while unapologetically exposing Davis's myopic focus of the moment. Not all is understood by the end, but enough to justify repeated viewing.
Jul 11, 2017 8:22 PM
0 0
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 13321
Rated NCC-1701Davis's career high (1950s) and low (1980)

I'd say that's a little more complicated than that. Davis had some stinkers in the 50s (Young Man With a Horn. Miles Davis and Horns) and some really sublime work in the 80s (We Want Miles, Amandla). The film shows his golden period as being more in the mid-60s, when he was married to Francis and playing with his second classic quintet. But he also put out some stinkers in the 60s (Quiet Nights) too. His early 70s albums were considered at the time a chronicle of his drug-induced downward spiral, but they happen to be among my favorites.

I agree with your rating though, and only occasionally does the film's thin budget becomes unforgivably cheap (the boxing match scene is very embarrassingly staged - this was supposed to be Madison Square, but looks like a barn). Cheadle's commitment brings Davis' soul to the surface, and makes it very difficult to fault its more practical challenges.
Jul 11, 2017 10:36 PM
0 0
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 39426
Jaws A+
Raiders of the Lost Ark A+
Jul 12, 2017 3:13 AM
0 0
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 5
The Gift - 8/10
Jul 12, 2017 5:22 AM
0 0
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 25388
North By Northwest - 9/10 - It's sort of difficult to quantify just what level of great this is. It's such a seemingly faultless film that I suppose it's easier to think of it in terms of what Hitchcock avoided doing wrong. I loved the cinematography. Of this and Rear Window. But then it's Hitchcock's favorite, Robert Burks. I'm sure I'll find other commonalities once I start watching more of his movies but this also shared Rear Window's combination of playfulness and sophistication. No wonder audiences ate it up. I had seen parts of it course. The cornfield. Mt. Rushmore. But it certainly flies by for a two hour and fifteen minute film.
Jul 13, 2017 5:34 AM
0 0
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 25388
Army of One - 4/10 - I'm a Nicolas Cage fan but this is just not good at all. Not necessarily unwatchable but...it's like one long SNL skit. And not a particularly funny one either. Cage is committed to the role like he almost always is. But at heart his character isn't very likable. It's based on a true story of a guy who thought God was speaking to him and telling him to go to Pakistan and capture Osama Bin Laden. There's actual footage of the real life Gary Faulkner and I'm not sure how many liberties they took with his story or Cage took with his character but I'd think about suing. Unless of course he's as batshit crazy as the movie makes him out to be. In which case take the money and shut up. Don't bother with this and just watch the trailer instead.
Jul 13, 2017 10:41 PM
0 0
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 452
"Earthquake"- 6/10


Arguably the best Irwin Allen disaster of the era, which isn't saying a lot. Fun, silly film that shows that Lorne Greene conceived his daughter, Ava Gardener at the ripe old age of seven.
Jul 13, 2017 11:26 PM
0 0
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 25388
The 39 Steps - 7/10 - This is mentioned in the same breath as some of Hitchcock's later classics but I had trouble getting into it. Maybe it's because he was still perfecting the formula or technique that would lead to those classics. It's certainly not the assured and masterful tone I've come to associate with him. Still though there are enough glimpses of the Hitchcock to come to make it worth watching. I did remember the ending with Mr. Memory so I guess I watched that much of it sometime and somewhere.
Jul 14, 2017 2:51 AM
0 0
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 1388
Sexy Beast B+

Glad I finally saw this one. The plot is rather straightforward but through some clever editing the story remains engaging. Much has been made out of Ben Kingsley's performance, and it truly is one of his best, but Ray Winstone really deserves some credit as well.?
Jul 14, 2017 5:27 AM
0 0
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 4252
The Hateful Eight - 8/10 (pun semi-intended)

This seems less like a mystery, but rather as a dissection of the execution of a motive, not just in Daisy's case, but the manner which brings all of the central characters to stage. It's the least obvious of Quenty's latter works, relying on actual characters - instead of the substance of exploitative style - none of whom can be faulted for being blissfully unaware or ignorant of their circumstance, although Daisy could've used some shut-the-hell-up juice, for the sake of her serendipity (and her ever-bloodied face for that matter). Much like Avatar's use of 3D, I'm not sure if H8's use of Ultra Panavision served the film as a whole for all the interior shots of people sitting and drinking in the best covfefe* in Wyoming, but the exteriors looked real nice on my rinky-dink TV.

Not to disparage the long-deserved Oscar win of the Maestro himself, but I only detected two or three cues (with variations), intermingling with a couple tracks from The Thing as well as appropriate selections from QT's "Shelf Hits Now!" collection, and I wonder if that's enough to secure the gold, but then I think of Michael Gore's 10-minute Oscar winning score for Fame v. The Towner's 120-minutes of The Empire Strikes Back: Dawn of You Done Fucked Up Oscars, and all is well again.


* : gets smacked by John Ruth once more :
Jul 14, 2017 9:30 AM
0 0
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 17970
D.H.The 39 Steps - 7/10 - This is mentioned in the same breath as some of Hitchcock's later classics but I had trouble getting into it. Maybe it's because he was still perfecting the formula or technique that would lead to those classics. It's certainly not the assured and masterful tone I've come to associate with him. Still though there are enough glimpses of the Hitchcock to come to make it worth watching. I did remember the ending with Mr. Memory so I guess I watched that much of it sometime and somewhere.

Having seen it twice during the last weeks, I can say that the first time I was not impressed. I had some issues with Donat and Carroll's chemistry and I was expecting more "spy thriller" stuff. A second watch worked wonders, though. I gave it a B+ on that one.
Jul 14, 2017 1:05 PM
0 0
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 19240
The Cat Returns - 8/10. Haru, an insecure teenage girl who is not exactly having the best time of high school life, saves a cat from being run over. Little does she know that the cat is actually a prince, and in exchange for saving his life, he promises to take her to the cat kingdom and give her a reward. However, the reward ends up being a little more than Haru bargained for. This is a Ghibli production, and while it is not up to par with their best, it still exhibits the best qualities of that studio in its whimsy, memorable characters, high quality animation and writing and in its positive life lessons; in this case, the value of helping those in need and being comfortable in your own skin (or fur). Also, whether or not you care for dubbing, the American voice cast is one of the better ones for a Ghibli movie. I especially enjoyed Tim Curry's performance as the lecherous cat king.
Jul 14, 2017 7:21 PM
0 0
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 25388
Horror Hotel (AKA The City of the Dead) - 7/10 - A nifty little B&W horror movie starring Christopher Lee. It's got the whole shebang. A fog shrouded village harboring a coven of undead Satan worshiping witches. Not one but two damsels in distress. A memorable villainess. And loads of atmosphere. I'm not sure how well known this is but it should be. I watched it on TCM but since it's in the public domain you can watch it either here at archive.org or, since it's not a very good print, just go to you tube instead.
Jul 15, 2017 1:37 AM
0 0
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 17970
On Wednesday, I went 2-2; 1 for my #BlockbusterJuly project and 1 for my #SummerWithHitchcock project.

Jurassic World (2015)?

Box Office ranking: #4
Worldwide gross: $1,671,713,208

This one, I wanted to see for a while. I love the original, and even think the second and third parts have worthy parts. The good ($great!$) reception from critics and audiences that this one got was further motivation to check it out, and for the most part, I agree with them. Jurassic World is not without its problems, but I still think it is a pretty good, fun ride.

20 or so years after the events of the original Jurassic Park, a full-blown theme park called Jurassic World is already established at Isla Nublar, led by Operations Manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). Claire is a calculated workaholic that has no time for anything else, not even family. One of the park attractions are the well-known raptors, now domesticated by Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), a former Navy veteran and raptor trainer. Obviously, things at the park go awry just when Claire's young nephews (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) are visiting, and it's up to Owen and Claire to save her nephews and the day.

For its first half, Jurassic World was a pretty good spectacle of tense buildup and great action. The new characters were solid and fun to watch. Special kudos to Chris Pratt who creates a cool and fun character in Owen Grady, and Vincent D'Onofrio, who relishes his role as mischievous security chief Vic Hoskins. The two kids were also pretty good in their roles, and it was also good to see BD Wong reprise his role from the original. After one hour, I was loving it and was ready to give this a solid A or A-, just on plain entertainment.

The second half was a bit more problematic, though. For some reason, Colin Trevorrow and his co-writers sorta lose control of things in it. I had issues with the characterization of Claire, the character, not the performance, and how she evolves. Starting with her shift from cold and distant workaholic to kick-ass, heroine/aunt and ending with the love relationship with Owen, neither of which felt organic nor believable. Second, I had some minor complaints with how Trevorrow handled some moments. For the most part, he proved he is a capable director that knows how to build tension, and knows his way around an action setpiece. However, in more than one occassion, I think he botched the overall effect of specific scenes.

Despite these issues, I can still say I really enjoyed the film. I wishes the film would've stayed at the level it was through the first half, but despite the issues that arose in the second half, I still thought it was a fun ride. Grade: probably a B+


My other Wednesday watch was for Hitchcock...

The Lady Vanishes (1938) was the last film of what has been referred to as Hitchcock's "thriller sextet" before his move to Hollywood. Like the five films before, it was also a fun and enjoyable ride.

The film follows a group of tourists stranded on a remote European inn due to an avalanche. When they all board a train back, an elderly woman misteriously disappears and her companion, Iris (Margaret Lockwood), is determined to find her with the help of a musician called Gil (Michael Redgrave). Things get more mysterious when multiple travelers that had been in contact with the lady, deny having seen her for different reasons.

The biggest strength of The Lady Vanishes lies in its wonderful cast. Lockwood was solid as the lead, but Redgrave was a scene-stealer. Charming and funny, I was surprised to see it was his first film role. In addition, the rest of their travel companions are just as alive and colorful, particularly a psychologist (Paul Lukas) and a pair of cricket enthusiasts (Naunton Wayne & Basil Radford).

Through all of its duration, Hitchcock manages to present an enjoyable film while also building intrigue and tension. It all ends with a particularly tense confrontation in the last act that has darker shades than the rest of the film. At the end of the day, the motivations for the disappearance of the lady end up being a MacGuffin, but the ride is all worth it. Grade: B+
Jul 15, 2017 2:54 PM
0 0
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 61415
War for the Planet of the Apes 10/10
Jul 15, 2017 6:00 PM
0 0
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 1064
I'm gassing hard, as I've only watched 2 films this year. (and a couple of MST3K episodes, ughh Mitchell)

One final run on '40s movies, and then it's time for a movie hiatus.

Letter From An Unknown Woman (1948) - 8.3/10


Jul 15, 2017 8:10 PM
0 0
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 17970
Rebecca (1940) was Alfred Hitchcock's first film in Hollywood and his first collaboration with David O. Selznick, who was coming hot off the success of Gone With The Wind. The film follows a young woman (Joan Fontaine) who marries widower Maxim De Winter (Laurence Olivier), but has to deal with the constant comparisons and memories of his titular first wife.

Rebecca is unlike any film Hitchcock made before, and on the surface, you can feel Selznick's touch in it more than you can feel Hitchcock's. The scope feels more epic and broader, and the tone is more serious. Despite this "differences", Hitchcock's direction is great. But the cinematography and lighting were breathtaking. The film looks gorgeous in its black and white, shadow-filled majesty. Shades of films to come, like Citizen Kane and Hitchcock's own Vertigo, can be seen in the cinematography and even the plot.

I thought both Olivier and Fontaine filled their roles ably. Olivier, although not perfect, did managed to convey that heaviness and grief-stricken nature of Maxim, while Fontaine showed the necessary naivete and innocence needed for the role. However, Judith Anderson steals her scenes as Mrs. Danvers, the mysterious maid that remains fixated to the late Rebecca. To me, the film peaked in a tense scene between Anderson and Fontaine. The last act did lose some steam, but at least it had George Sanders in it, and he was great.

All in all, Rebecca remains a new direction and a growth of Hitchcock, even if lots of it were controlled by Selznick. Grade: A-
Jul 15, 2017 8:58 PM
0 0
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 25388
Rebecca - 9/10 - This turned out to be a great movie. I had heard all sorts of references to it and was reading a book recently that actually mentioned Du Maurier's novel numerous times. I was under the impression that it leaned heavily on the romance angle so I had more or less avoided it. But I badly misjudged it and there's a very good reason the novel won a National Book Award and this film won a Best Picture Oscar in 1940. It's got everything. A portentous setting with a built-in crazy housekeeper, a quintessential scoundrel, attempted blackmail, mystery, possible murder. Great cast as well, especially with Judith Anderson Frau Blucher-ing the shit out of it.
Jul 15, 2017 10:10 PM
0 0
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 9663
Miami Vice (2006) - 7/10
Jul 16, 2017 12:37 AM
0 0
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 1064
Wow, three Joan Fontaine reviews in a row.

That'll never happen again.
Jul 16, 2017 2:50 AM
0 0